Spinal Stenosis Anyone?

    • Anonymous
      October 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      My visit to a pain doctor and with an MRI of my lower back came up with a diagnosis of spinal stenosis of L4 and L5. Ugh… he said with my neuropathy it is hard to tell which is causing the most pain. I’m going to try physical therapy and if that doesn’t help some he wants to give me an injection in my spine with anti-inflammatory and anethesia stuff.

      Curious if anyone else has this same situation and what worked to help?

      Another night of 12 hours sleep and feeling sort of okay. I still am so grateful I got SSDI as so far rest is the only thing that helps. Yawn…

    • Anonymous
      October 30, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      I was told I needed two back surgeries for spinal stenosis when it was all CIDP pain (wasn’t diagnosed yet). I have read and heard that CIDP does cause back pain. With me going to various doctors I found surgeons wanted to operate and non-surgeons may have something else to help me.

      It takes a wise physician to tell what will really help.Many times trial and error may be the only way. Your pain doc has said he’s not sure what exactly is causing your pain. I find that refreshing.

    • Anonymous
      November 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Limekat – I know what you mean about a doctor being honest (and he was very handsome!). I have no intention of letting anyone operate on my back. There is some new laser technique but I think I will try to the shot and/or pain meds first. I do have insurance but with it being medicare based it is not very good coverage. Makes me wonder after all these years if I have CIDP after all???

    • Anonymous
      December 1, 2011 at 12:21 am

      Hi Chrissy

      Thanks for letting us know about it. Actually I also have some (bearable) pain at lower back and I have problems while sitting and standing movements. It takes few minutes for normal walking once I stand up . I am curious about your further moves. Pl keep me informed. As far as surgery is concerned, pl don’t do it. From my experience, I suppose it could be initial muscle pain and may go after some medicine. All the best.

    • Anonymous
      December 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      I cancelled my next appt. with pain doctor… I did not want a shot in my spine and until I know the depth of how bad my kidneys are (January appt) I am not going to get any pain meds.

      Geeze… if its not one thing its another. I am better off staying away from doctors 😡

    • Anonymous
      December 2, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      Spinal stenosis is something that we all develop to a greater or lesser degree. I have moderate to severe cervical stenosis. I have had some pretty bad neck pain over the years. Physical therapy has always helped. Before you consider back surgery, please read “Healing Back Pain” by John Sarno, M.D. I suffered for years with unremitting, disabling back pain. The pain disappeared after I read Dr. Sarno’s book.

    • Anonymous
      May 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      I too have just been diagnosed with this problem. I have ordered an electrical pulse stimulation device recommended by my physical therapist. I’ll post the results once I start using it. I’ll be interested to hear what works for others. Good luck Chrissy!


    • Anonymous
      August 22, 2012 at 3:23 am

      Well, it’s been about 3 months since I started my quest to relieve pain caused by spinal stenosis.  I tried the electrical stim device recommended by my physical therapist – didn’t help and in fact seemed to make it worse.  I have also had an MRI and xrays to confirm the diagnosis.  Since then I have found some answers although they won’t yield instant results.

      I was lucky enough to find the most WONDERFUL osteopath Dr. Stephens who explained exactly what is wrong, how it got that way, what I can do about it now, and what the future likely will hold regarding my back problem.

      Most surprising to me as well as a bit discouraging is that GBS has played a large part in the health of my spine.   I had GBS in 2002 and was fortunate enough to have a relatively “mild” case compared to many who post here.  I have had about 80 percent recovery, but was left with some typical, but difficult residuals.   The terrible fatigue that many of us are familiar with, as well as problems with propriation, balance, fluctuations in blood pressure, some areas of skin numbness, and lack of stamina.  Areas where the GBS did the most damage now tend to become weak nearly to point of failure when I’m tired or stressed. 

      Because I am a small business owner and the viability of my business as well as the welfare of my employees and clients depended on me being able to perform, I pushed myself to participate as much as I could as quickly as possible while I was recovering from GBS.  I used what little energy I could muster to keep my business afloat.  As a result, I did little or no physical activity and other than the speech therapy, occupational therapy, and some minor physical therapy.  Once those were over, I became otherwise almost completely sedentary, as all of my available energy went towards doing what was absolutely necessary.  After that I was wiped out physically and mentally each day and required 12 hrs sleep each night.   The thought of adding exercise seemed as possible to me as climbing Mt. McKinley!

      Well, as it turns out, all this while, my muscles have been shrinking and I’ve become almost completely deconditioned.  The muscles that make up the core of the body around the trunk weren’t used for so long that they were virtually non-existant.  Those are the muscles that hold the spine in position and help to carry the body upright.  Without the aid of these muscles, the deterioration of the vertibrae in the back (spinal stenosis) that happens to everyone as we age, accelerated.  So the spinal stenosis was greater for me than for most other people my age, and has begun to cause a lot of pain as the space between the vertebrae shrinks and pinches the disks. 

      Dr. Stephens told me that this very process is the reason why most nursing home residents end up there.  Most have very little serious disease that can’t be treated at home, but once they become deconditioned to a point where they can no longer stand and walk on their own, they end up living in a nursing home.  I have watched this very process as it’s happening to my own mother and can see exactly how it happens.  The less exercise she gets, the harder it is to exercise, which makes her weaker, makng it hareder for her to exercise, and the cycle continues to get worse!

      Ok, so my osteopath says the solution is to strengthen my core muscles, BUT due to the limitations of my GBS residuals, I have to do this slowly and carefully.  He says this could take up to a year, but that I can dramatically improve the support my muscles can give my spine.  It won’t stop the process of spinal stenosis, but will slow it down, and in the meantime, reduce my back pain. 

      Next step is starting gentle Pilates with an instructor Dr. Stephens recommended who works specifically with disabled people and people recovering from illness or injury.  The bad news is it’s expensive – $350 for 5 one hour lessons- yikes!  I hope to be able to learn enough to be able to continue working on my own at home after the lessons.  I may then be able to add some gentle yoga classes. 

      My doc also prescribed some pain meds, in addition to the Cymbalta I’m already on.  Those help somewhat, but I’m hoping to be able to stop using them, once I can build my muscles up. 

      This will be a life-long process, so I’ll need to make time every day for these activities.  It sure seems worth it, if it helps the pain retreat, and will slow the progress of the spinal stenosis.  I’ll post info. about my results after I’ve tried this for awhile, to let you know how it goes.  I’m enthusiastic about it, since it doesn’t involve surgery!

      Chrissy, I wish you the best of luck with your own situation.  What has your doctor told you about it?



    • Anonymous
      August 27, 2012 at 2:59 am

      Hi Suzanne and All,

      I forgot about this post (have now added that I receive email updates on this post). I agree that we all at some point develop spinal stenosis but with GBS behind us, we have a harder time than others. I haven’t been back to the pain doctor. My PCP doc gave me some basic pain pills that do help to take the edge off. I have been swimming most of the summer and my back still hurts really bad. I have heard of other ‘cures’ but the cost is extreme and since I am on SSDI I do not have the money. I also sleep up to 12 hours at a time (with a couple of breaks) and that seems to take the edge off of my other symptoms so I can handle the back pain a little better. As I get older, I am actually getting wiser on when and how to use the energy I have! I can’t lose with the great attitude of one day at a time.


    • August 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      My last bout with GBS was 2002. I have had it four times. I now have facet joint arthritis and some stenosis and my back has been hurting a lot this year. Had an MRI. Also went to a chiropractor and had physical therapy. I take Naproxen, 500 mg in the morning and 500 mg in the evening. I, too, was told I need to strengthen my core. I don’t want to get shots or surgery. I am doing my exercises every day. I have balance problems but do okay walking. I climb stairs slowly.